A quarter of new dads are missing out on paternity leave and pay
19 June 2017
One in four men who became fathers in 2016 didn’t qualify for paternity leave or pay, according to new TUC analysis published on Fathers’ Day.
In 2016 there were around 625,000 working dads around the UK with a child under one. However, a quarter of them – more than 157,000 new fathers – did not qualify for the up to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave and statutory paternity pay.
The main reason is that they were self-employed – this affected nearly 113,000 working dads. Unlike self-employed mums who are eligible for a maternity allowance, dads who work for themselves don’t get a similar paternity allowance.
Another 44,000 dads didn’t get paid paternity leave or pay because they hadn’t been working for their employer for long enough. The law requires employees to have at least six months’ service with their current employer by the 15th week before the baby is due, to qualify for paternity leave.
The TUC is concerned that so many dads are missing out on the chance to spend valuable time at home with their partners and babies because they cannot afford to.
Many low-paid fathers struggle to take the time off because statutory paternity pay is just £140.98 a week. This is less than half what someone earning the minimum wage would earn over a 40-hour week (£300).
The TUC believes the government should give new fathers:
A right to statutory paternity leave for all workers from day one in the job, in the same way that maternity leave is a day one right.
Increased paternity pay. The TUC wants the government to increase statutory paternity pay to at least minimum wage levels.
A paternity allowance for dads who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay. This would be similar to the maternity allowance which self-employed mothers and mothers who haven’t been with their employers long enough can claim.
Dedicated leave for dads. Government should introduce an additional month of well-paid parental leave and reserve it for fathers only to use.